Dear Guts Is the Key Reader. A few years ago, I made a new friend online. Her name is Heather Gauthier. There is much I could say about her but the primary reason I have asked her to share with you is that her writing talent is so prolific and amazing.
She is incredibly gifted with fiction writing.. And so I asked her to write an inspirational fiction piece and share it with my readers. It is a fiction piece that is so true to Heather’s life that you will feel her heart-beat in the story. I know this story will help some of you, to seize the moment and make the most of your lives. It is soooooo very important that people learn to follow their inner compass and not just the noise of the world. And so I share with you this special story, to help you do just that!
But let the anticipation build for just a moment more and let me tell you a little about Heather. She says of herself. “I am Changing my life and following my dreams and passions one day at a time. I enjoy running, reading, (W)riting … the three R’s! I am a mother to three children and spend most of my days at the gym. I think life is too short to waste.. so I’m grabbing it by the horns!” And so she is. Recent decisions she has made prove it.
To learn more about Heather after reading this story make a pit stop at her blog site: http://the-back40.blogspot.com/. You will be glad you did….. So back to the reason why she is here today at GutsIsThekey.com . I am really excited about this story. It is full of soul searching and life changing power. Push away the distractions and let your mind float with the story!
It was just another day, much like the last and the one before that. Sitting in a boardroom. Sitting in a suit that came in many colors with different versions but was still a suit nonetheless. Sitting at a table with 8 others discussing items that had been discussed yesterday and the day before. A day where Bernie (short for Bernadette) sat with her notebook in her lap pretending to take notes when really she was doodling; who needed more notes about the same thing? A day, just like all the other days, where she realized her opinion didn’t really matter after all; that really it was for esthetic purposes she had even been invited. After all, she was the only woman at the table. Again. Just like yesterday and the day before.
Bernie. A name shortened by the men she worked with to sound more masculine. At first she was proud of this ‘change’. Made her feel a little like a man, like she was a part of some elite club; made her feel a little powerful. Now she thought her name should really be Bernadette; you didn’t need balls to be powerful. Was she the only one that realized this?
She realized that even if she spoke now and told everyone the sky was in fact blue, that if the VP Richard said it was purple then it would be purple. She had started to realize in these moments that she was in danger of becoming a ‘yes man’ like the rest of them, except that she’d be a ‘yes woman’ and that didn’t sound right to her.
On these days, in these moments in the boardroom she started to remember all the things she’d wished she was when she was a child. An actress, a Policewoman, a singer or a lawyer. How different life may have been; but what pipe dreams they were!
Bernadette with her husband and kids doing what every responsible wife and mother should do. Saving money for her kid’s future, rising to the top of her career, pulling a six figure income; that stuff. From an outsider’s point of view and from the view of those who wanted to someday be in her position, the job was awesome. Trips to different cities, hotel living and expensive dinners. Hobnobbing with the best in the business. To Bernie it had become tedious. To Bernie every dinner invitation meant too much wine, too much food and fake smiles. To Bernie going out of town meant eating quiet fat-laden dinners alone in her room while channel surfing. To Bernie it was all a huge damn waste of time because what ever happened was going to happen whether she was there or not. Most times the decision had already been made and the wheels were already in motion; her involvement was to show that she too had a say, although that was a complete fallacy.
She watched as VP after VP screwed up important relationships and made bad decisions. She watched young boys she’d hired skip ahead to the top based solely on their ability to say “yes”. Her hard work over the years started to mean very little but just like that old cliché goes “Everything happens for a reason”; and it does. Her job now was to figure out what the reason was.
Was it Mark Twain who said that the “Two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why?”
All of this shit had accumulated over the years making Bernadette at first miserable and depressed. Making her feel like her life’s work was useless that nothing in life was honest anymore until it dawned on her that this was just another life lesson.
She knew this was not why she was here. She knew that there was something much larger in store for her.
But how do you change your life at the age of 40? How do you go home and say to your family that you’re planning on throwing your six figure income out the window and throw all caution to the wind to do something you wanted to try when you were six? How do you tell your family that although they’re the most important people in your life you’re going to have to put yourself first for a while? That vacations and pizza Fridays were cancelled until further notice?
Then again, how do you continue to go through your life doing something you don’t want to do? How do you go through your life doing mundane things and acting in a role that you’re not well suited for? A role where the lines no longer make sense, or make too much sense?
How could Bernadette look at her kids 10 years from now and tell them to follow their dreams when she herself did not?
The next day was different. The boardroom was the same. The players were the same. The suit was the same. Bernadette was not the same. Two hours in to their first morning meeting she was almost smiling. Today was the day. During cocktail hour with the boys she would make her pre-announcement. Between the martini and the appetizers is when she’d do it. The funny part is she knew that it would make no difference. No one would believe her anyways.
And so it happened. She announced she was leaving the company which as she’d expected conjured up laughter and drunken opinions on why that would never happen. Tomorrow would be the day she did it formally of course, not over a martini or shrimp cocktail.
Admittedly that evening she did not get much sleep. She had already approached her husband weeks ago about the idea and was pleasantly surprised when he encouraged her to ‘go for it’, yet she couldn’t shake the feeling of extra bills and cutting back. The well-meaning laughter of her co-workers also had her wondering if maybe they were right. Maybe she should just stick with what she knew. Maybe this was a really stupid idea. Bernadette started to wonder if maybe this was her mid-life crisis; and that she’d regret this decision.
Bernadette had never been this selfish in her life. What made her think that she had the right to do this?
The next morning while brushing her daughter’s hair she had a small melt down. She described to her five year old daughter that today was going to be a difficult day for Mommy; that she was going to leave her job and find a new one. Her daughter did not miss a beat telling “You shouldn’t be sad mom! You don’t even like your work and now you won’t have to travel so much anymore! Yay”.
It’s entirely unclear if that small conversation was the one that gave Bernadette the courage she needed or whether it was her own resolve but whatever it was she felt free. She had not even given her resignation yet but felt happier than she had in years.
Truthfully when it was all said and done Bernadette was a little hurt and disappointed that after so many years of dedication no one seemed to care that she was leaving. She was a little pissed that the guys thought it was hilarious and high-fived her saying “See you in a few months!” and after they heard she was joining the Police Academy; jokes about swapping combats for Gucci’s.
It was an “Aha!” moment it was; she’d invested twenty years into caring what others thought about her. Twenty years into playing a role with lines dictated by others. Twenty years of doing exactly as she was told to do. Twenty years of forgetting who Bernadette really was. All that changed when she left the building for the last time.
Maybe it was the small skip in her step, or the different way she carried herself, or the small moments when she would do something or say something that was completely in her character without fear of judgment. Maybe it was the confidence and joy she felt every day that let her know she’d made the right decision.
Or maybe it was now as she was laying on the road with a young girl Michelle who had just been in a severe car accident. Maybe it was because Michelle was holding her hand so tightly fighting for her breaths; short and shallow. Maybe it was when she started singing “Stand By Me” to Michelle while waiting for the ambulance to arrive, praying to god that Michelle wasn’t taken before her time. Or maybe it was when she discovered that Michelle was her ex-bosses daughter.
She had made the right decision. She was exactly at the place and time that she was supposed to be. Fate had brought her here and for the first time since becoming a police officer if became crystal clear in this moment that this had been her life path all along.
The change she had made in her life was risky; it was scary; it was unknown. If it was easy to change your whole life she thought in those weak moments, than everyone would do it.
And as Michelle was loaded into the Ambulance; Constable Bernadette back on her feet she wiped tears of joy from her face.
Today was the day she found out why.
I am sure you see now, why I asked Heather to guest author. And I have good news, she will guest author again in the near future. I will keep you posted with details. Until then! Sieze the moment, Today!